NCSE Customer Charter - National Council for Special Education

National Council for Special Education
Interim1 Customer Charter 2017- 2018
Our Mission Statement
We support an inclusive education system that enables students and adults with special educational
needs to achieve their potential.
Our Aim
One of our key service goals in our Statement of Strategy (2017- 2021) is to support schools to
enable students with special educational needs achieve better outcomes. We aim to provide our
customers with a professional, efficient, courteous and quality service. The purpose of this Customer
Charter is to set the standard of service our customers can expect from the NCSE.
(Note: This Customer Charter is not intended to create or confer new legal rights for customers.)
Our Commitment to our Customers
Customer satisfaction is very important to us and we are committed to the Government’s 12 Guiding
Principles for Quality Customer Services. We aim to achieve this by:
 Giving our customers the best possible service and advice.
 Treating customers properly, fairly, impartially and with courtesy.
 Aiming to ensure that rights to equal treatment established by equality legislation are
upheld in the delivery of our services.
 Aiming to meet any special needs our customers may have.
Contacting the NCSE
When you contact the NCSE, we will deal with your enquiry efficiently and promptly and treat you
with courtesy and respect.
Contact by Telephone
Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am – 12.45 pm and 2pm – 5.45 pm (5.30pm on Fridays).
 Our staff will answer your telephone call as quickly as possible. We will give our name, the
name of the section or area you have called and we will be courteous and helpful.
 Our aim is to provide customers with clear and correct information. If we cannot answer
your questions straight away or in full, we will try and put you in contact with someone who
can assist you, or take your details and call you back as soon as possible.
 If a person is unavailable, or if you are calling outside of our office hours and you are
connected to a voicemail, we will aim to ensure that you receive a prompt call back.
 Our local support service staff spend a considerable amount of time visiting schools and will
therefore not always be available to take phone calls. Should you leave a message, they will
access their voice mail on a daily basis and will ensure that you receive a response as soon as
In 2017, the services of the Special Education Support Service (SESS), the National Behavioural Support
Service (NBSS) and the Visiting Teacher Service (VTS) for Children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Children
who are Blind/Visually Impaired were incorporated into the NCSE. The NCSE is developing and expanding its
services to reflect our new support services. We will be preparing a new three year Customer Charter and
Customer Action Plan when this development process is complete. This Customer Charter is therefore an
interim Charter for the specified period.
Written Contact
 If you contact us by letter, email or fax, we will acknowledge your correspondence. We will
keep you informed of progress, if relevant, and aim to issue a final response in a timely
manner. If we cannot do this promptly, we will endeavour to write to explain why and tell
you when you can expect a full reply.
 All correspondence from us will be in clear and plain language and respond in full to your
queries. Our contact details including our name, telephone number and an email address
will be included in all written correspondence and replies.
 In the case of emails, an automated email response will issue when staff are out of the
office, indicating a return date and an alternative contact if required.
Personal Contact
 If you need to contact our local support service staff in person, we will arrange to meet you
by appointment at suitable and agreed times in locations which are as convenient as
possible such as schools, education centres and health centres.
 We will provide you with the maximum level of privacy possible.
 We will be friendly, professional, helpful and courteous in our dealings with you.
 We are fully committed to ensuring that customer rights to equal treatment under equality
legislation are upheld.
 We provide equality of access to our services and endeavour to accommodate diversity as
provided for by equality legislation. We will consult with our customers to make sure their
accessibility or other needs are looked after and will assist our customers with specific needs
in accessing information or services as required.
 The NCSE Access Officer will arrange extra help if necessary for customers who wish to use
the NCSE's information and services. Contact details for our Access Officer are available on
our website.
Providing Information
 We aim to provide clear, accurate, accessible, relevant and up-to-date information to our
customers through our staff, our publications and our website- Information on
the former services of the SESS, the NBSS and VTS will be held for a period of time on their
original websites until it is incorporated into the one NCSE website. The websites for these
services are-; and
 We will ensure that important public information material is available through a variety of
 We will comply with the Freedom of Information Acts and the Data Protection Acts. Contact
details for our FOI and Data Protection Officers are available on our website.
Services through Irish
 We will ensure that people who wish to conduct their business through Irish are facilitated,
and we will respond in Irish to correspondence received in Irish.
 We will respond in Irish, to telephone callers who wish to speak in Irish, immediately where
possible, or offer to have the call returned promptly by a member of staff who can deal with
the query in Irish.
 We publish our Annual Report, Strategy Statement, Customer Charter and other important
documents in both Irish and English. We comply with the requirements of the Official
Languages Act, 2003.
Complaints and Appeals
If you have a complaint about any aspect of our service, please let us know and we will try to rectify
the problem. We would encourage our customers to raise any issues or complaints with the relevant
NCSE staff member involved or with his/her direct supervisor. We would hope that most issues will
be efficiently and satisfactorily resolved in this way. Where this is not possible, we have formal
procedures for dealing with customer complaints. Full details of our complaints procedures and
forms are published on our website. Formal written complaints using the appropriate forms should
be sent to:
NCSE Council Support Unit,
National Council for Special Education,
1-2 Mill Street,
Co. Meath.
If your complaint remains unsolved, you have the option of pursuing the matter further with the
Ombudsman or the Ombudsman for Children (contact details below).
Office of the Ombudsman,
18 Lower Leeson Street,
Dublin 2.
Tel. (01) 6395600
LoCall 1890 22 30 30
Office of the Ombudsman for Children,
Millennium House,
52-56 Great Strand Street,
Dublin 1,
Tel. (01) 8656800
LoCall 1800 202040
Appeals relating to the allocation of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts
We have a specific and separate appeal process relating to our decisions on the allocation of Special
Needs Assistant (SNA) posts to schools. The appeals process is published on our website.
Feedback and Consultation
We have established a Consultative Forum, which is representative of our stakeholders and which
we use to seek views and feedback on major issues. We will continue to use this Forum and will
engage with it on key issues and about our services.
In addition we meet with national organisations representing parents, schools, teachers,
disability/advocacy bodies and other state agencies on a regular basis to seek their views and
provide information on our services. Through our local staff we communicate and consult with all
those who use our services. We will continue to use these channels to engage in meaningful
consultation with our customers to support the evaluation and improvement of our services.
In addition, we welcome your comments and suggestions about our service and how we can
improve at any time. Please let us know what you think of our service or this Charter- positive or
negative, by submitting feedback, comments or suggestions. You can email your feedback to or send it to:
NCSE Council Support Unit,
National Council for Special Education,
1-2 Mill Street,
Co. Meath.
Help us to help you
You, as our customer, also have an important role to play in helping us offer you the best possible
service. You can help us in other ways too if you:
 Quote any relevant reference number in all communications with us and provide full
relevant information or documents on a timely basis as required by your school or our staff.
 Follow any guidelines or procedures which are relevant to the service you require.
 E-mail, write to or call our staff directly using the direct contact details we have provided on
our website.
 If our lines are busy or unanswered, please use our voicemail and leave your name and
number so we may call you back.
 Make an appointment to meet our local staff when you need to meet us.
 If you have internet access, check our website- and the websites for the other
services now within the NCSE for information you may need -; and
 Contact your local school directly where it would be in a position to deal with your query.
 If you wish to make a complaint, consult our guidelines and procedures available, be as specific as possible and differentiate between complaints about policy
and staff conduct.
 Treat our staff courteously and with respect, as you would wish to be treated yourself.
Further information and how to contact us
Further information about our services may be obtained on our website- and the
websites of the services now within the NCSE-, and
You can also contact us directly. We will endeavour to keep our contact details on our website up to
date at all times.